Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Facing Reality

November 2017
“There is … a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build …”
So begins the well-known poem of ‘The Teacher’ in the Bible book of Ecclesiastes.  His words echo our experience of life – it’s certainly not all good but it’s not all bad either and if there were good times in the past then maybe there will be good times again in the future.  It’s all part of the rhythm of life and that’s OK.

But when you read the rest of his book you realise that that cannot be what 'The Teacher' meant.  He was deeply puzzled by the apparent pointlessness of life – it’s all a vapour, a fleeting mist, an enigma.  The ‘rhythm of life’ is not a comfort but something disturbing.  For each good thing that is done there is also an undoing, peace is replaced by war, beautiful buildings are torn down, strong relationships fall apart and life is overtaken by death.  ‘The Teacher’ longed for a better world where good things don’t come to an end.

And so he taught his hearers to hope for a day when the world would be different.  He prepared them to hear about a man whose life was not a fleeting mist because death would be unable to crush him; a man whose words would never be forgotten, whose accomplishments would never dim, whose just and righteous government cannot fail. 

Ecclesiastes is a book for our day.  We hope that all our busyness and fretting is accomplishing something important and yet we are troubled by reality.  What is the point of spending your life working hard if everything you achieve is temporary?  Exactly, says Jesus, “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”  (Luke 9:24-25)


Graham Burrows

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Forever Love

October 2017

“We don’t have to live very long in this world before it becomes painfully clear that nothing lasts forever. The car we were so proud of when we bought it is spending too much time in the garage getting fixed. Those clothes we picked up on sale are now in the hand-me-down box. At home, the roof eventually leaks, the appliances break down, the carpet needs to be replaced. And relationships that we think will endure often fall apart.

Nothing lasts forever – nothing but God’s love, that is. Twenty-six times we are reminded of this inspiring truth in Psalm 136. Twenty-six times the writer gives us something for which to praise the Lord, and then he reminds us, “his love endures for ever”.

Think of what this means. When we sin and need forgiveness, His love endures forever. When our lives seem a jumbled mess that we can’t control, His love endures forever. When we can’t find anyone to turn to for help, God’s love endures forever. When each day is a struggle because of illness, despair or conflict, His love endures forever. Whenever life seems overwhelming, we can still praise the Lord, as the psalmist did – for God’s love is always new and fresh.

No problem can outlast God’s forever love!”

The above is one page from a helpful booklet called Our Daily Bread which is posted out quarterly across the UK (and beyond) from an office in Sandside.   The generosity of donors and local volunteers means that no payment is required – you simply need to tell them that you’d like to receive the booklets.  Contact Our Daily Bread by phone, letter or on-line (015395 64149  Our Daily Bread Ministries, PO Box 1, Carnforth, LA5 9ES   odb.org/subscription/uk).  If you prefer you can receive Our Daily Bread pages by e-mail or to your phone.

And if you are longing for hope and strength in times of trouble and you would like a visit from someone on behalf of the local church then we have small teams in the villages who can be contacted - the details are in the village newsletters.


Graham Burrows